When faced with something set on consuming the body and devouring the senses what do you do? In the case of Blood Is Blood you embrace it and in turn the imagination rousing exploits of its creators On Hollow Ground. The release is the debut album from the British metalcore band and easy to feel a possible spark to major recognition for the Leeds based quintet.
Emerging in the summer of 2013, On Hollow Ground has proceeded to nurture a sound which is far more than that metalcore tag suggests. It is a multi-flavoured and textured incitement which takes no prisoners yet rewards submission with a tapestry of invention and creative ferocity, its persuasion shaped by rich essences of varied metal, grime and hip hop. A trio of EPs have seen the band’s sound and reputation grow as too their live presence which has seen the band share stages with the likes of Light The Torch, Martyr Defiled, Exist Immortal, Nexilva, InVisions, Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, Carcer City, Red Seas Fire, Shields and many more. It has all led to now and an album which demands thick attention.
And grab such undiluted focus here it did starting with Blood Is Blood opener, Our Lives. Instantly it engaged the senses in sonic smog around fervid rhythms, riffs and grooves swiftly trapping and entangling the listener from within, its guitar wiring as barbed and invasive as the feral tones of vocalist Jack Flynn. Attitude and dispute soaks every note offered yet it cannot disguise the instinctive virulence in the dexterity of guitarists Ryan Scott and Chris Batty and indeed the barbarity driving the bass growls of Bob Howe and Joe Wood’s lethal rhythmic swings. With a more melodic leaning in the vocal backing roar and growl of Scott as agile and fertile as the web of sounds increasing enslaving ears, the track is a rousing start to the album and an instigator and clue to the unpredictability and enterprise which flows through the release.
The following Broken makes an equally thickly coaxing start, its electronic kissed beckoning carrying a portentous hue which is soon realised in vocals and the collusion of carnal riffs and predatory rhythms. It too is an offering driven by aggression and animosity, its creative teeth bared throughout and sonic nostrils flared even as its gait evolves in energy and murderous intent without losing invasive intensity.
There is a familiarity to the band’s sound in some ways, the likes of Born Of Osiris and Emmure suggested in the press release as strong clues to its character and voice to which we would add After the Burial and fellow Brits Vanity, but quickly and firmly On Hollow Ground set down their own individuality which brews a powerful incitement within next up People Never Learn. Its Linkin Park-esque start is soon a tumultuous trespass, a bruising ferity of sound boiling up the temptation already laid down. Subsequent grooves spring out and entangle like Triffid roots, invading and stinging the senses as rhythms abuse and vocals assail. As all tracks, it casts an eclectic tapestry of imagination, electronic and djent seeded persecution adding to the tempest.
Surviving Life rises up next in a melodic rock spiral; female vocals a siren in its midst as the brief encounter leads into the tempestuous oar of …And getting By. The track is soon a twisted cauldron of craft and sound, again its kaleidoscope of styles and flavours proving a riveting surround to the potent raw hearted tones of Flynn and his united prowess with the melodically nurtured lures of Scott while the excellent WMD (Wasteman Down) raided and inflamed the senses with its brief but magnetically scorched threat, the sonic lancing of ears at its heart as riveting and haunting as the animosity around it.
The album’s title track follows, Blood Is Blood instantly harassing the senses rhythmically and suggestively before cementing the intimation with a brutally animated fusion of acerbic grooves and bitter riffs aligned to just as virulent and barbarous rhythms.
Shut Down 2.0, a cover of the Skepta track only adds to the increasing addictiveness we found for the album, On Hollow Ground transforming the song in something akin to human flesh becoming Cyberman but retaining the heart and emotive potency of the original.
The release is completed by Even Though, an intensely tempestuous and ferocious ravening assault which if not quite igniting the passions as many before left ears welcomingly ringing and an appetite for the band’s sound escalated.
Quite simply Blood Is Blood hit the spot and with increasing success by the listen; it confirms On Hollow Ground an exciting and striking prospect with the potential to make a major mark as their compelling sound further grows.
Blood Is Blood is out now.
Pete RingMaster 13/08/2020